LOCAL LEADER WINS NATIONAL AWARD
April 28, 2011
Current members of the Prince of Wales Health Network are PeaceHealth, SEARHC, State of Alaska Craig Public Health Center, and Alaska Island Community Services. The Prince of Wales Health Network was formed in 2008 out of a mutually recognized need by POW’s healthcare providers for increased collaboration to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services to POW residents. The original goals of the Network were to evaluate the possibility for longer term collaboration through strengthening relationships between the healthcare provider organizations, updating needs assessments for POW, and developing a strategic plan for primary care services on POW.
Quoting a press release from the National Cooperative Health Networks Association, under Hammerschlag’s skillful leadership, the Network rapidly exceeded expectations, and expanded its objectives to include needs assessment and strategic planning for behavioral health services on POW, market analysis for elder care services on POW, increased support for the Island’s EMS system, and formation of a community based behavioral health coalition. Other Network accomplishments include increased visiting specialty clinics, continuing education opportunities for providers, and increased community education about services available on Prince of Wales Island. Most important, the Network has facilitated increased communication and collaboration between the healthcare providers serving the island, community stakeholders, and state agency representatives.
One of the Network’s greatest strengths has been in leveraging the collective influence of its members to bring additional resources and funding to Prince of Wales Island. In 2009, when the largest provider of behavioral health services on POW closed its doors, the Network was able to secure funding from the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health to provide island-wide needs assessment and strategic planning for improved behavioral health services to POW. In 2010, the Network received a Service to Science award from CSAP’s Center for Application of Prevention Technologies for its work in this area.
The Network has a new, 3 year work plan in place. Goals include support of increased communication and collaboration through strengthening the Network infrastructure, improvement in the entire continuum of behavioral health services on POW from prevention through treatment and aftercare, improved coordination of maternal child health services, increased youth development opportunities, and annual community health education campaigns.
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